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Man found slumped in driver’s seat of car whilst under influence of cannabis

A presentence report was ordered after defence said her client would not be able to pay a fine as he is in 'considerable debt'

Craigavon-Courthouse

A Portadown man who was twice caught with cannabis in the space of two months must wait to learn his fate.

Court heard the 29-year-old was also found slumped behind the wheel of a car whilst under the influence of the substance.

Sean Cardwell, of Garvaghy Gardens, pleaded guilty to driving whilst unfit through drugs, two counts of possession of a Class B drug and failing to provide a specimen at Craigavon Magistrates’ Court on Friday.

These offences were accrued by the defendant over two separate incidents.

Prosecution outlined that on July 21, police observed a Ford Fiesta with a flat tyre at Mandeville Manor, Craigavon.

Officers approached the vehicle to find Cardwell slumped in the driver seat. The keys were in the ignition, the lights on and there was a strong smell of cannabis.

A preliminary breath test was conducted on the defendant which resulted in a pass but a field impairment gave a fail.

Cardwell was arrested and taken into custody and whilst there a small amount of cannabis resin fell out of his pocket.

The defendant on several occasions refused to give a specimen of blood for analysis.

Then on August 19, at around 8.45pm, police on patrol of Lurgan observed a vehicle in a car park.

Officers approached the car and noted a strong smell of what was suspected to be cannabis.

Cardwell, who was the driver of the vehicle, was informed that a search would be conducted.

During this a small amount of herbal cannabis was located in the rear footwell on the driver’s side.

When cautioned for the offence the defendant made no reply.

During a notebook interview, Cardwell admitted that the substance belonged to him. He claimed that it was for personal use and that he paid less than £10 for it.

Defence solicitor Siun Downey stated: “Mr Cardwell has abstained from cannabis since the commission of the last offence and has admitted guilt at the very first opportunity.

“He is a carer for his brother. He has instructed that if the penalty was a fine it would not be possible for him to pay the money as he is in considerable debt.”

She continued: “He has attended with his GP and has made steps to overcome this issue which took over him in 2015, 2016.”

Deputy District Judge John Rea said: “If what you are proposing is a probation sentence it will require a pre-sentence report and I can see the benefit of one.”

Cardwell was released to appear on November 29 for sentencing.

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